Binge drinking is a significant public health issue in Australia, but current health promotion strategies for reducing binge drinking are largely ineffective.
One style of intervention, known as ‘brief tailored intervention,’ has demonstrated efficacy in reducing alcohol consumption, but these interventions are typically delivered opportunistically and individually (e.g. through primary care).
The proliferation of internet-enabled mobile phones provides a novel means of moving tailored alcohol interventions into the real world, where and when binge drinking occurs, at a population level. We are developing an innovative intervention to use mobile phones to reduce binge drinking.
This participatory research project aims to test the feasibility and acceptability of a mobile phone based intervention delivered during drinking events in young people.
The intervention involves hourly mobile assessment and feedback. During a night out, participants will receive hourly SMS (text message) reminders to complete a very brief online questionnaire accessed via the SMS. The questionnaire will collect hourly reports of their alcohol consumption and spending, location and mood.
In response to these data they will receive an individually tailored feedback message via SMS which aims to stop or slow down their drinking or avoid harmful consequences of drinking.
The intervention design and content have been developed and piloted with young people using a theory-driven participatory approach. Participants piloted the intervention on an actual night out, while drinking. Response rates in the pilot were high (89% of hourly questionnaires completed) and participants gave very positive feedback about the intervention. In early 2015, we received a VicHealth Innovation Research Grant to conduct a trial with 300 young people to test the impact of the intervention on binge drinking.